Published by Andrew on 14 February 2018
Les Copains Sportive is a weekend of summer cycling for all in the Auvergne.
Not all cyclosportives are only for hard-core road riders. Some of the best sportives in France have courses for different levels of cyclists. The anuual Les Copains Sportive in the Auvergne is one of them, with course lengths ranging from a one-day 54km ride through to a three-day 515km event.
When is it?
Each year at the end of June/early July. In 2018, different cycling events will take place between June 29 and July 1.
Where is it?
The weekend is based around Ambert in the Parc naturel régional Livradois-Forez area of Puy-de-Dôme (Auvergne). It's organised by the Cyclo Club Les Copains and the local Maison du Vélo.
It's one of the few organised cycling events in the area – but it's a good one!
What should I expect?
Up until a few years ago it was only a sportive with different distances, but nowadays it's a weekend packed with different events, including gravel bike races.
The organisation is outstanding and there is a real festive atmosphere: some villages along the routes have cycling related decorations and music playing to further enhance the carnival feel.
Kicking things off on Saturday, June 30 is a 55km ride with a time trial on the Col de Béal. The time trial covers 13km with 862 metres of climbing. More information here.
The actual main sportive is run on Sunday, July 1, with the following routes available:
- Dore et Dolore: 54km with 650 metres of climbing
- La Livradoise: 92km with 1,759 metres of climbing
- La Forézienne: 115km with 2,335 metres of climbing
- Les Copains: 155km with 3,105 metres of climbing, with the Col de Béal hors catégorie climb short but really steep (and coming towards the end – be warned!)
All distances except the Dore et Dolore can be ridden with or without timekeeping. See here for more information, including great maps and GPX files.
Additionally, there is also a two-day event called 'A Pays des Fourmes'. You can choose from three different distances (190km, 267km or 321km), with the routes being split into two stages, and overnight stays arranged along the route. More info can be found here.
Finally for the road, the three-day event covers 315 km, 410 km or 515 km in three stages. More info here.
On Sunday, July 1 there is a gravel bike ride of 63km or 80 km. More info here.
On June 26 – "to launch hostilities," according to the website – there will also be an event for school kids. The Récré des Petits Copains will see 150 schoolchildren from local schools ride part of the Les Copains circuit. They'll also take part in road safety activities and other bikey fun.
Due to the fact that there are several different events taking place there is a wide range of different cyclists who participate, there should really be something for everyone to have a go at here.
There are support vehicles and regular feed stations and – it being France – a nice meal upon arrival.
For more on how to enter you can visit the official site.
Thanks to ...
Margriet Derksen has told us about this event. Margriet is Dutch cyclist (road and MTB) who lives in the Auvergne. She is active in local cycling clubs and runs specialist cycling accommodation in Le Mont-Dore.
Accommodation in the Auvergne